The topic of narcissism may seem to be more commonplace over the past few years. It’s not because there are more narcissists than before. Rather, I believe it’s because we as a society are becoming more aware of narcissist traits and behaviors.

Narcissist Traits – Not Always What They Seem

As this persona has become more prominent in our culture, so have certain misconceptions about narcissists and narcissist traits. One belief is that narcissists only target weak or insecure people. This common trope often plays out in our cultural narrative and offers a false perception that those who are strong, confident, or secure are safe from the manipulative talons of a narcissist. This is a misnomer.

Why Narcissists Target Women Who Are Strong and Confident

On the surface, narcissism appears to be a disorder of grandiosity and ego. Individuals with overt narcissistic traits present themselves as overly-confident, egotistical, and grandiose. The truth of the matter, however, is that narcissists have both a very fragile ego and wounded sense of self while also having a strong sense of entitlement. So why would someone who harbors such deep insecurities be drawn to those who are strong and confident?

Narcissist Traits

Here are 5 reasons why narcissists are drawn to strong, confident women:

1. It Makes Them Feel Worthy

In their core, narcissists fear (maybe even believe) that they are less than. When a narcissist meets a strong and confident person who has an exciting and vibrant life, they are drawn in. Whatever it is they have, be it a lot of friends, a successful career, or a lot of money, the narcissist wants to be a part of it. In fact, they may even feel that they are entitled to that life. The narcissist feels that by wooing this person, winning them over, and starting a relationship, they are proving to others (and ultimately themselves) that they are worthy of this type of life, too.

2. They Like A Challenge

Narcissists want to feel like they are superior to everyone else and they see it as a relational game. If they target an insecure person, they don’t feel that strong sense of superiority over their partner that they thrive on. By pursuing, and ultimately “conquering” a strong and confident woman, a narcissist will feel the ultimate sense of superiority. Because once the narcissist gains trust from the person, their behavior will change and they will begin to tear down their partner they can continue their feelings of superiority.

3. They’re Attracted To Kindness and Empathy

Strong, confident women often have an abundance of empathy, which can also give them a higher tolerance for manipulative tendencies that are commonly displayed by narcissists. Narcissists feed off of this tolerance and patience, intuitively knowing that they can push boundaries in both very big and very small ways. A narcissist knows how to use kindness and empathy to get into the heart, and mind, of someone. This makes it easier to gain their trust, and thus easier to tear down as well.

4. They Feel Safe With You

Most narcissists have a deep childhood wound that even they aren’t aware of. While they like to think that they are powerful forces in the world, their narcissism actually stems from deep feelings of powerlessness or worthlessness. Strong, confident women know how to handle life’s ups and downs, and their grace-under-fire mentality makes the world feel safer for everyone else — including narcissists. Narcissists will be drawn to you because they feel safe, but they will also sabotage that safety without even realizing it when they suddenly turn on you.

5. They Want to Be Like You

Powerful women have everything that narcissists want — confidence, intelligence, influence, and inner strength. The narcissist (falsely) believes that if they spend time in the company of someone with these positive traits, they might absorb their partner’s power almost like through osmosis. We both know that doesn’t happen. When a narcissist realizes that their partner’s power doesn’t transfer over, their attitude will turn and they will start to tear you down.

What To Do If You’re In A Relationship With A Narcissist

It’s not always easy to accept that you may be in a relationship with a narcissist. But if you’re reading this article and find that you resonate with these narcissist traits, it may be time for some pretty serious self-reflection. Try asking yourself questions such as “Can I tell my partner when I’m upset without fear of retribution?”, or “How safe do I feel when my partner is angry?” “Am I always blamed, leaving me confused about the actual situation or events?” Your answers to these questions, plus reflecting on the 5 points above, is a jumpstart indicating some red flags about your relationship and your partner.

If you feel that you may be in a relationship with a narcissist, seek support from friends, loved ones, or a professional. It can make a difference. Learn more about narcissist traits by visitng our other blogs.

5 Reasons Why Narcissists Like Strong, Confident Women was originally published in Medium on October 9, 2020

Until the next Opening the Doors post.

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